September 28th, 2013
(as of 2013-09-11 20:00:19 PST)
FIFA 14 [Online Game Code] by Electronic Arts
Experience the emotion of scoring great goals in FIFA 14. The game plays the way great soccer matches are contested, with innovations to the award-winning gameplay that inspire fans to build play through midfield, dictating the tempo of a match. Feel the tension as chances are created, and experience the thrill of hitting the back of the net. A new feature called Pure Shot and a brand-new ball physics system will transform shooting, making every shot attempt feel real, and when players connect with the perfect strike, feel exhilarating. FIFA 14 delivers engaging online features and live services that connect fans to the heartbeat of the sport—and to each other—through EA SPORTS Football Club. FIFA 14 is soccer’s social network, where fans connect, compete and share with millions of others around the world.
Additional features will be revealed in the months leading to the game’s retail launch in Fall 2013.
Requires Origin Client to activate.
"Obviously we would like to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has backed the project so far," Playtonic Games said in a Kickstarter update. "Our intention from the beginning was to use Kickstarter as a means to improve Yooka-Laylee, and you’ve helped us shape it into one fine specimen."
Playtonic says the additional funds will allow it to release the game on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U simultaneously.
Since it reached all of its initially stated stretch goals, Playtonic added two new ones. If funding reaches £1.1 million, Playtonic will add an old-school N64 shader mode and a credits GK Rap video written by Grant Kirkhope. If it hits £1.2 million, Playtonic will produce a developer walkthrough and commentary Let's Play video.
You can secure a copy of Yooka-Laylee by pledging at least $15. Backing at that level gets you a copy of the PC version, while you'll need to pay around $22 to get a console copy.
Voegtle has been working over the last month to create an episodic, cinematic playthrough of The Last of Us, cutting captured gameplay footage to focus on the important story beats, and the result is something akin to a television show.
"I was hearing that people wanted to share the story of The Last of Us with their family, but they just didn't have the time to have them sit down and play the entire game," Voegtle told The Verge in an interview. "Hearing that and knowing that I could do that for people—that's been the most motivating thing so far to keep me working on it."
You can watch trailer for the cinematic playthrough above, and catch up with the entire series of videos on Voegtle's YouTube channel.
In other The Last of Us news, Sony and Naughty Dog on Friday announced that the single-player expansion for The Last of Us, called Left Behind, will be released as a standalone download on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 this month.
The Legend of Zelda Wii U looks as close to being an open world adventure as the Zelda series has ever come. Though previous games in the series usually featured large overworlds to explore, they weren’t exactly open worlds in the true sense of the term. Consider how Hyrule is physically segmented in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Hyrule Field acted as a vast hub area, with little spokes that branched off to Hyrule Castle, Kakariko Village, Kokiri Forest, Zora's Domain, and Gerudo Valley. Each of these locations was separated from the field with a loading screen, and in most cases, you couldn't travel directly from one to the other without first crossing through the Hyrule Field hub. This didn't feel like a true open world as we think of them today.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds created what felt like a more open world through an unorthodox approach--for the series--to "gating" your progress. Gating is the act of keeping you out of certain areas of the game until you fulfil certain conditions. Again, consider Ocarina of Time: You couldn't enter Dodongo's Cavern without the Power Bracelets. You couldn't get the Power Bracelets until you learned Saria's Song. And you couldn't even climb Death Mountain until you met Princess Zelda and received her letter. A Link Between Worlds did away with this linear progression by allowing you to rent the items you needed to progress in any order, and at any time.
I feel that something approaching this type of gating is necessary for exploration in an open world Zelda game to work. Even if I can travel from one end of Hyrule to the other without a load screen, what is the point if I have to do it in a specific order, anyway? This is a problem that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker suffered from because of the way its vast Great Sea overworld was designed. After a few dungeons, you could sail anywhere, with no loading screens--but there wasn't much reason to until you began the penultimate quest to collect the Triforce pieces. Because it didn't make sense to gate players' movement as they sailed across a vast sea, Nintendo instead placed Wind Waker's gates on the island themselves: impassable obstacles that blocked entry to the island's depths until certain items were acquired. For me, little else defeats the grand sense of adventure than travelling to a new, unknown location, and discovering that I'm not allowed in yet.
A Link Between Worlds gated its locations with items, too--but the difference in that game was that the order you acquired those items was up to you. My problem with that game's item gating was how artificial it felt. Barriers outside dungeons had a picture of the item you needed printed on them--they didn't feel like natural features of the terrain to overcome or circumvent. My hope is that The Legend of Zelda Wii U will find solutions to both of these problems. From what we've seen of the game, Hyrule is a physical landmass, not an ocean. This naturally gives Nintendo far more options for gating progress in ways that don't feel as artificial as an item requirement.
From the gameplay in the video above, originally aired at the 2014 Game Awards, it seems like Nintendo is thinking along similar lines. If I see an interesting landmark in an open world game, I want to be able to travel to it. With Epona galloping through fields, Link para-sailing off cliffs, and setting waypoints far in the distance, The Legend of Zelda Wii U has exactly what I need to spark my initial sense of adventure. However, when I get to that landmark, I want to go inside if it's a cave, or climb it if it's a tower.
This harkens back to the feeling of the first Legend of Zelda game for the NES, and Shigeru Miyamoto's original intentions for it--to capture his feeling of exploring caves in the countryside as a child. This worked for the first Zelda game, because its narrative was not as complex as those of its successors--find the pieces of the Triforce, defeat Ganon, and rescue Princess Zelda. I can accept that The Legend of Zelda Wii U may need to have a main quest line that needs to be followed in a certain order for a deeper and more complex story to work. But if that means I need to explore the open world in a similarly linear fashion, and complete dungeons in a certain order, I'll be disappointed.
How would Nintendo solve that? How would they create a consistent story but still allow non-linear exploration? I have an idea, and it's pretty simple: they could decouple the narrative progression from the item and dungeon progression. Look at The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask for an example: the Zora storyline is a self-contained arc which unfolds primarily in the Great Bay. The Gorons' snowy plight is resolved by completing tasks within Snowhead itself. These "story pockets" often required certain items to resolve, and you could bookmark them and return to them if you did discover where that item lay. However, access to those pockets was still restricted by the hub and spoke approach to its world, as in Ocarina of Time. Resolving these narrative events with items is far more satisfying, and feels far less artificial, than opening a new route to travel through, or overcoming a physical barrier to exploration. When exploring an open-world Hyrule, I shouldn't run into those barriers. But if I want to progress the narrative? That's when a hero like Link should run into problems to resolve.
It hasn't always been this way, though. Previous console generations had the guts (literally) to run games from older hardware, but over time the cost of adding the extra technology to newer machines proved to be too high. Are we justified in feeling cheated out of consoles with backward compatibility? Or is it all just part of the industry's evolution towards better, brighter experiences?
When we say something is backward compatible, it means that the object in question can work with input generated by an older product or piece of technology. If the new, most recent technology can receive, read, view or play input--like media--in older formats, then the product is backward compatible. In the case of consoles, when we talk about backward compatibility, we're asking if the console can play games create for previous hardware in that console's family. For example, early PlayStation 3 models could play PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 1 games, while the first run of the Nintendo Wii was compatible with GameCube games, memory cards, and even controllers.
The early years of video game consoles saw backward compatibility as a more common feature. But for some companies, it was harder than others.
Atari: The Atari 7800, released in 1986, was backward compatible with the Atari 2600 but not the console that directly preceded it, the 5200. This was because the 7800 included many of the same chips built into the original 2600. Users could put the 7800 into a "2600" mode that slowed down the console's processor from 1.79 MHz to 1.19 MHz, which mirrored the 2600's processor. In this mode, game data was accessed in 4K blocks rather than the 7800's standard 48K blocks, allowing the newer Atari to read and play the older machine's games.
Atari never released another true console with backward compatibility, but in 1987, the company launched the Atari XEGS, which could play the entire library of software developed for Atari's 8-bit home computers. Additionally, the company developed but never released the Atari Jaguar II; the canceled project would have allowed users to play catridges for the original Atari Jaguar and Jaguar CD.The Sega Master System.
Sega: In 1983, Sega released the cartridge-based Sega Game 1000 in Japan; it would never be released outside of the territory. The company's next machine, 1986's Sega Master System, was built to be compatible with the SG-1000's game cartridges. Following the Master System, Sega opted not to put the previous console's chips in its next machine, the 1989 Sega Genesis, but instead made backward compatibility possible through a peripheral. Although the Genesis contained an 8-bit processor, this accessory, the Power Base Converter, had to be hooked up to the Genesis in order to play Master System games.
Sony: The PlayStation 2, which launched in 2000, allowed users to play PSOne discs, although PSOne memory cards were also required to access and store save data. PSOne controllers were also compatible with the hardware, although certain functions like the analog buttons were not available to use when playing PS2 games. Early PlayStation 3 models were backward compatible with both PSOne and PS2 games, and save files from PSOne and PS2 memory cards could be transferred to the PS3's hard drive using a memory card adapter. When Sony debuted the PS3 Slim model in fall 2009, the company removed backward compatibility chips in order to make it a thinner piece of hardware. No PS3 models following the launch of the Slim have had backward capability.
Microsoft: The Xbox 360, 2005's successor to the original Xbox, allowed for some backward compatibility but required several more complicated hoops to jump through. Unlike the PlayStation 2 and 3, players couldn't put previous generation discs into the system and expect them to run. Playing Xbox titles on Xbox 360 required system software updates from Microsoft and emulation profiles. These emulation profiles were created for each individual game--there was no blanket solution for all Xbox titles--and could be downloaded straight to the console via Xbox Live or through Xbox.com and burned to a CD or DVD. Only Xbox 360s with the official Xbox 360 hard drive could run the emulation profiles.
In November 2007, Microsoft stopped creating emulation profiles for Xbox games. To date, there are 461 Xbox titles that are compatible with the Xbox 360. Any game without an official emulation will not work.The Nintendo Wii with a GameCube game and controller.
Nintendo: While Nintendo's early consoles ran on their own media--with sizes and shapes of cartridges and discs varying between generations--it all came together with the Wii in 2006. Wii models made pre-2011 were fully backward compatible with Nintendo GameCube game discs, memory cards, and controllers. This was because the Wii hardware had ports for both GameCube memory cards, and peripherals and its slot-loading drive was able to accept and read the previous console's discs. When playing a GameCube game, however, only GameCube functions were available, and only compatible memory cards and controllers could be used because the Wii's internal memory would not save GameCube data. Online and LAN features of certain GameCube games were not available, however, due to the Wii not having serial ports for the GameCube's Broadband and Modem Adapters.
The redesigned Wii Family Edition and Wii Mini, launched in 2011 and 2013 respectively, had this compatibility stripped out.
Right now, Nintendo's Wii U is the only console on the market with true backward compatibility. Wii software can be transferred to the Wii U and and accessed through Wii Mode by clicking on the "Wii Menu" home screen icon with a Wii remote. Speaking of which, Wii remotes and peripherals also work with the Wii U. In Wii Mode, games can be displayed on the GamePad screen, but Wii Remotes are still required to play them.
Additionally, Nintendo's handheld lines also hold up in terms of backward compatibility. The Game Boy line read software from most previous incarnations of the handheld, with the exception of the Game Boy Micro. The company's most current handheld, the Nintendo 3DS, can also play games from the Nintendo DS.
Neither of Sony's current gaming hardware, the PS4 or PlayStation Vita, are backward compatible. The PS Vita cannot play the UMD discs of its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable, because there is no UMD reader; instead, the Vita utilizes small flash memory cards the size of SD memory cards. Compatible PSP games can, however, be downloaded from the PlayStation Network on PS Vita.
The main reason PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can't play older games games is because both consoles use an entirely different kind of chip with a different instruction set. While older PlayStations and the Xbox 360 used PowerPC chips, the PS4 and Xbox One completely changed the guts of the system by using an x86-64 architecture, which is closer to Intel and AMD CPUs.
For PS4, Sony's PlayStation Now service, currently in open beta, does allow users to stream PS3 games, but requires a subscription fee.
Speaking with GameSpot during the PS4's launch in November 2013, PS4 architect Mark Cerny said that, while the plan for PS3 was to put PS2 hardware in every console, the move was impossible with PS4.
"Software emulation is very hard to do unless you have 10 times the frequency of the previous console," Cerny said. "Software emulation is not about the overall performance that can be achieved by having a great number of processing units. It's about being able to do things quickly. You're trying to emulate your previous hardware, and that takes you a certain number of operations to emulate whatever it was doing. So, PlayStation 1 is emulatable on PlayStation 2 because there was an increase in the frequency of the CPU and GPU to something like a factor of 10. And the same thing is true between the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. The PlayStation 2 is something like 300 Mhz; PlayStation 3 about 3.2 Ghz -- about 10 times as much. But even so, it's very, very hard to do.A top-down view of the PS2's motherboard.
"The world we're in now, though, frequency has stopped increasing," he added. "For example, if you look at your PC, the frequency of the CPU hasn't changed much in the last ten years. And that makes emulation just really hard to do."
Microsoft's Xbox One is also not compatible with its predecessor's media. Nor can you use the Xbox 360's Kinect with the Xbox One; you must purchase the updated version of the peripheral. There is no PlayStation Now equivalent for Xbox One.
The more advanced the technology used for consoles becomes, the more difficult--and more expensive--it is to add the hardware or software necessary for backward compatibility. Consoles with more features will likely be pricier, and a current generation console with a the previous generation's chipset would be wildly expensive; think of a PS4 or Xbox One with another $200 tacked on to account for the additional parts. This is one reason why Sony and Microsoft have shied away from including backward compatibility in their current consoles.
But just what does it take to make something backward compatible? There are two ways to go about implementing the feature: hardware implementation and software emulation. Either you have the exact hardware needed to run previous generation games, or you're using the full power of the new hardware to emulate the previous generation's software.
The best way to add backward compatibility to a console is to include the important pieces of the previous generation machine's guts, like the CPU, GPU, and sound chips. For example, the Wii was able to play GameCube games because it was essentially a more powerful version of the GameCube. The PlayStation 2 also had the original PSOne chipset built in.
The other way, emulation, is a little trickier, and there are two different ways to make things work.The motherboard of the original Xbox.
Dynamic recompilation ensures the most compatibility. This process takes code that has been written for one chip and, as the code goes through the CPU, translates it into code that the native hardware can interpret. This method may give hardware the best way to emulate software, but you need really strong hardware in order for dynamic recompiling to reproduce a 1:1 experience performance-wise.
Another way to emulate software is to add another layer of software that is written to mimic the hardware a code has been written for. This is the most common form of emulation because it doesn't drastically affect a game's performance. A good example of this is Microsoft's approach to emulating Xbox games for the Xbox 360; individual emulation software was written for each compatible game. That's the slight drawback: one emulation software can't be created for multiple titles, so the code has to be created separately for each game needing compatibility. The downloadable PSOne games Sony has released for PS3 and Vita come with emulation code tailored to that specific game, which is why we haven't seen every PSOne Classic released at once for any of the newer consoles. This is also how Nintendo is handling game releases for the Wii U Virtual Console.
For the Xbox 360, some games had additional compatibility updates to fix problems, but not all of them received these patches. Many Xbox games still have problems running on the 360, compatible or not.
The PS2 had a more powerful graphics system than its predecessor that could do parallel processing. When running a PSOne game on PS2, the timing between the hardware's parallel processing and the running software had to be exactly right, or the game would break. Later, slimmer PS2s used software emulation for PSOne games, and as a result only supported certain titles.
Last fall, Sony's vice president of Sony Network Entertainment Eric Lempel stated in an interview with Game Informer that PlayStation Now could see the addition of PS4, PS2 and PSOne games in the future.
"In our plans going forward we’re looking at everything so there’s the real possibility that you’ll see PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 4 titles available," he said. "Right now it’s just PlayStation 3, but these are all options for the future."
Around the same time, head of Xbox Phil Spencer said Microsoft have heard fans' cries for backward compatibility, and that something was in the works for Xbox One.
"Back compat is always a hot topic at the turn of a generation, and I get why." - Phil Spencer
"Back compat is always a hot topic at the turn of a generation, and I get why, especially on [Xbox 360] so many people bought so much digital content and it means that a lot of us, we're holding on to our 360s," Spencer said. "I get the question. I totally respect the question. There’s nothing I can say about it right now, but I’ll just say 'I hear you.' I definitely hear you and I'll continue to try to work to build something that can help people out."
GameSpot reached out to Sony and Microsoft for comment on their plans to bring backward compatibility to current consoles. However, neither company could share any information at this time, other than reiterations of what we already know. A representation from Sony said the company's long-term goals for PlayStation Now include bringing PS1 and PS2 games to service, but for now they are focused on PS3.
So this is where we are today: current consoles are not backward compatible, but with the recent rise in re-releases and remasters of previous generation games, we technically can play older games on newer consoles. The downside of this is the cost, as all of these remasters require an additional purpose. Moving forward, it seems that this is the likeliest way publisher will ensure we'll be able to play their older games for years to come.
GameSpot's Robert Handlery and Mary Kish took the top GTA V mods for a test drive, and as you can see in the video below, the results are hilarious.
If you want to know how to spawn whales from the sky, recruit a crew of bodyguards, start a riot, or go back to North Yankton, these are the mods being used in the video:
Unfortunately, you may have trouble installing these mods now. According to members of the modding community, the last patch rendered Script Hook V, a tool used for GTA V mods, unusable. This is forcing those who wish to continue using mods to revert to older versions of the patch, which you can only do if you've made backups ahead of time or are willing to download older files online from unofficial sources.
This week's question is as follows:Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem
Wheel of Time and Elder Scrolls. This is a bit of a cheat, because Wheel of Time has only had one significant game, but I want an exploration-heavy role-playing game in the Wheel of Time universe so badly I'd cut off my left pinkie toe to see one come to life. Game of Thrones has captured our culture's imagination, but Wheel of Time's greater focus on magic gives its world's politics an edge ripe for exploring in interactive form.
I'd like to see the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter franchises team up for a crossover fighting game. OK, so they're not just video game franchises, but there have been enough good (and bad) entries in both to consider each a video game series, I'd say. The benefits of such a fighting game are plenty, but one obvious positive is that we would finally know who would win in a fight; Gandalf or Dumbledore? Frodo or Harry Potter? Smeagol or Dobby? Both franchises are owned and operated by Warner Bros, so it could totally happen!Mass Effect 3
The Mass Effect universe is one of the richest realms in gaming; it's absolutely bursting with untold stories. And you know who's great at uncovering fascinating stories in a rich world? Geralt of Rivia. Give me solar systems to explore, a ship captained by the Witcher, and don't shackle me with any kind of save-all-carbon-based-lifeforms quest, and I'll roam the stars with a song in my heart. (And if it sounds like I'm describing my ideal Cowboy Bebop video game, well, I am.)
I’d want a stealth action RPG crossover between Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex. Given their cyberpunk narrative themes, they’d definitely compliment each other well. I can totally imagine Snake sneaking around trying to uncover some kind of illuminati conspiracy. Gosh, I can even see him constantly fighting against a JC-Denton-like agent character that slowly uncovers the same conspiracy over time. But in terms of gameplay, it would be great to see the RPG elements of Deus Ex mix in with the stealth/combat and Mother Base recruitment mechanics of the newer Metal Gear Solid games.Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
I love working my way through brainteasers and devious mental challenges, so I search out and complete every puzzle in the Professor Layton games. But as much as I enjoy hunting around the cartoony, 2D setpieces, it's a game I'd love to see in 3D. I imagine mashing Layton up with another of my favorite games, World of Warcraft, would create some amazing possibilities. The game would look like Layton but play like Blizzard's MMO (minus the combat). NPCs in the world with a glowing exclamation mark over their head would stand out as puzzle distributors. Instead of attacks, you could dole out mini-challenges to other players when you meet them. Instances and raids would be a massive gauntlet of puzzles to try and overcome (but puzzles wouldn't respawn, of course). And just imagine a bustling London to explore done in the Professor Layton style but on the scale of Stormwind!
Hearthstone has changed my life more than I'd like to admit, it's an outstanding game of wits that requires constant thinking and rethinking. But I don't really know Warcraft's lore too well (never played WoW etc), so swapping its cards with characters from the Half-Life series (or Game of Thrones, even) would probably result in blissful bankruptcy and a barren social life.Gradius V
I would love to see a Gradius and R-Type crossover. Arcade shooters aren't as popular as they once were, but I still love them, and it would be a treat to see a crossover shooter based on my two favorite series in the genre. Mix up mechanics, ships, and create a new setting, and G-Type (the made up name for this unlikely game) could easily carve out a niche all its own within the modern shooter fold.
I just want Telltale Games to make a Mad Men game. It makes total sense. A story-driven adventure game about navigating the relationships that come with big business and complicated personal lives. It doesn't even have to be a story about Don Draper. Forget that guy. What about a story about Bob Benson? Or maybe even a tale about Joan's younger years in the early era of Sterling Cooper, her origin story? I think the franchise leaves so many of its smaller, yet still important, characters out of the loop, and I'd love to see more of them, perhaps during times when they were first starting out. Origin stories of Mad Men characters, in which you have a serious hand in determined just how screwed up their lives get. It's a perfect match.Dark Souls
Dark Souls and Dishonored. I love the hostile world of Dark Souls and its sequels, but I'm growing tired of its combat style, and the way I feel rooted to the ground. So I want to play a Dark Souls game with Dishonored-style powers - the ability to teleport around the environment, possess and confuse enemies, and generally play more stealthily.
I’d want Mario Kart and Mortal Kombat, and in either direction. Every time I see the "MKTV" logo in the replay screen in Mario Kart 8 I dream of a world where Scorpion and Sub Zero get to race side by side against those bastarding Koopa Kids. Or the other way around - I want to watch my boy Wario rip Toad's head off and use his stupid face as a football. I mean, worse case scenario, getting some of those Smash Bro's skins into the PC version of Mortal Kombat X shouldn't be too hard right?Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae
I would like to see Final Fantasy crossed over with the Warcraft universe. Imagine a role-playing game where you live out Thrall's journey both in the World of Warcraft and beyond. The boss fights would be awesome, strategic, and all in turn-based combat, of course. Thrall could chest-bump Cloud in a victory fanfare every time a battle was won. Grom would argue with Sephiroth. It would be majestic chaos.
A big part of the game's appeal is its refusal to take anything seriously. In the solo campaign (there are no multiplayer options other than the ability to check your timed scores online against other players), you play Doug McGrave, a demon-slaying stud in shining armor. As he's wandering around the countryside in the opening cutscene looking for new challenges and new sources of filthy lucre, he encounters a witch who pleads for help stamping out a demon infestation. She's broke, though, so Dougie isn't interested--at least, not until she whips out a vitality- and weapon-withering curse that soon convinces him that he should try slaying evildoers for charity.Even the deadliest boss battles have a distinctly Hanna-Barbera flavor to them.
All of this is played as a send-up of the traditional role-playing epic, with Doug looking like a cartoon superhero right down to his big, bumper-like chin. The visuals have been taken straight from an old-time cartoon. Both the cutscenes and the in-game graphics come off like lost clips from the Hanna-Barbera shows that aired on Saturday mornings in the 70s. The audio is just a shade smoother than the bleeps and bloops of the 16-bit era, giving the game even more retro allure. Visuals and sound combine to set a light, carefree mood that adds a lot to the overall experience of exploring underground dungeons and murdering all the inhabitants. The writers don't try too hard, either, so you don't have to deal with groan-worthy puns or the obnoxious, unfunny joking too common in games.
Gameplay isn't quite as enjoyable as the setting and story, but it's close. The Weaponographist sticks to the traditional hack-and-slash RPG formula. Doug ventures into multiple dungeon levels (called depths), each loaded with numerous close-quarter rooms that serve as battle arenas. A couple of save points can be found in each depth, letting you save progress midway through and then again before the concluding boss battle. Rooms generally work as follows: You walk in, the door closes, you don't get out until you kill dozens of creeps.
A big part of the game's appeal is its refusal to take anything seriously.
Monsters are played for laughs, as with the overall cartoonish visuals. The wide-ranging rogues gallery consists of demons in all manner of weird forms. There are lions with whips dressed as circus lion trainers, leprechauns with deadly yo-yos, dark elf archers, Ents with slingshots, and more. Each depth features a handful of new creatures with new weapons. All the weapons can be picked up and used against the bad guys, which livens things up as you proceed deeper and deeper into the underground labyrinth of evil. It's all more than a bit surreal, but the creatures are too broadly drawn and colorful to be outright creepy. Art direction that was slightly more adult would have made this a disturbing, nightmarish experience.
As noted above, the witch's curse decreased the durability of Doug's weapons and his skills as a warrior. So every sword, whip, machine gun, spear, and so forth comes with a lifespan that ticks down on a meter on the lower left side of the screen. When your weapon crumbles, you're stuck duking it out with your armored fists, making it imperative to scrounge something else as soon as possible. Magic weapons can be equipped to launch powerhouse attacks. Rings of fire can be summoned up with the magic staves left behind by slain wizards, for example, and the tubas dropped by marching-band goons can be used to fire Death Star-like laser blasts.Getting stuck with the wrong weapon for the current gang of monsters can get hero Doug McGrave killed in a hurry.
Speed is of the essence as well. Doug's curse makes him get weaker whenever he isn't killing monsters, with his strength shown on a combo bar. Slack off on the murderousness, and the bar quickly starts to empty. When it completely runs out, Doug starts losing experience. So it is imperative to get on and stay on a roll where you are constantly killing foes. Do this, and Doug gets into a rhythm where he is regularly leveling up and staying just ahead of the increasingly tougher mobs of bad guys that stock each new dungeon chamber. Fall behind on the slaying, and everything quickly gets tougher and tougher, with the end result being that you become overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemies.
Both elements have a big effect on combat, turning it into a fitting blend of speed and strategy. Constantly running and killing is key to everything, although you must also be careful about what weapon you pick up. Some just don't work very well against certain foes, and others are wildly underpowered or a poor fit when dealing with numbers of enemies. The chainsaw, for instance, is practically worthless in swarms of monsters due to how slowly you maneuver it. On the other hand, weapons like the zippy whip are almost too powerful given how fast you can deal out damage while racing around.
A bit of luck is involved here, too, because you can get stuck in some rooms without a good weapon for so long that you might as well just lie down and die. Enemy buffs that speed up monsters or cause balls of death-dealing slime to bounce around rooms can also pop up, making life even tougher. A combination of these apparently random special effects and crap weapons can end Doug's dungeon delving in a hurry, even if you keep up your combo meter.
When your weapon crumbles, you're stuck duking it out with your armored fists.
The action gets repetitive, however. Combat involves doing the same thing over and over again while slightly adjusting your approach to deal with different types of enemies. Depths are tough in the early going, meaning that you have to replay rooms on a regular basis. I found that I had to die a number of times in the first rooms of each depth to trigger a respawn back in the village hub, where I could spend the demon goo acquired from vanquished foes on buffs for weapons, magic gear, and so forth. I had to build Doug up in this way in pretty much every depth, having to die on at least three or four occasions before I was tough enough to start overwhelming the opposition. Be prepared for a fair amount of grinding.
Despite its reliance on a familiar formula and some repetition, The Weaponographist is a dumb, fun arcade romp due to its quick pace and interesting concepts governing weapon use and skills. This is one of those friendly games that just about anyone would enjoy picking up for short play sessions every now and again, especially those who like their dungeon crawlers tinged with a sense of humor and a retro flavor.